I am also acutely aware of the connection that Visual Arts has to Literacy. As a former English teacher, I try and infuse reading and writing into every lesson so students can draw evidence from their projects to discuss what they have learned. I recently gave out an assignment using Scholastic Art Magazines and a "One Sentence Summary" worksheet to focus on reading comprehension. Students selected an article from the Magazine, which connects to the artists and concepts we were discussing in class, before gleaning the most important aspects of the reading to write their summary.
Now, when I got the assignment back, about 1/3 of the class did it right the first time. They cited the article title with quotations, used the format to transition through the main points of the article, and demonstrated they they both read and understood what the article was about because their summary was both detailed and concise. For the other 2/3, it was a bit of a different story. Some students had a hard time narrowing it down to once sentence. Some had issues with giving their opinion rather than a summary. Others had issues with punctuation, transitions, and main ideas.
In the past, I would have just graded what they gave me and given them the option to do it over. In most cases many students will just take the grade and move on to the next thing. But as I really start to think about my job as a teacher, I decided not to grade the ones that showed a lack of understanding until they moved beyond the errors and got it right.
For some students, they were able to make a few adjustments and it was perfect. For others, we had to work together and really discuss what a summary is and how it looks when you write it in one sentence. Some had to go back multiple times and rewrite it until they demonstrated they understood the format to use to summarize what they read. And for those students who finally got it (even after 6 rewrites), it was the most powerful. I do not think I have every had so much excitement around writing a sentence.
High fives, whoops, laughter, and even some jumping up and down occurred during this process. The most excitement was really from those students who needed the most help. I am really glad I decided to change the way I gave this assignment for many reasons, but the biggest reason that those students who needed the extra help got it and those who did not got to move on - I am pretty sure that is what differentiation is all about and that is really what my job is all about in the end.
So my challenge to you is this: instead of grading work and moving on, what about offering the redo? Learning is fluid and just because a student does poorly on something once, doesn't mean that can't change. What do you think - is my thinking flawed? Do I need a redo on this idea?